At the end of Week 9, head coach Jack Del Rio found himself atop the AFC West standings after a statement victory over the Denver Broncos. The play of Latavius Murray and Derek Carr paved the way, keeping the Broncos defense on their heels.
The ground game laid precedent for the contest, as the Raiders were able to total 254 rushing yards against perhaps the best front seven in all of the NFL. Murray headlined the rushing attack, with three one-yard touchdowns on the contest, including two plunges with the ball barely over the goal line.
From a passing perspective, Carr did an excellent job managing the game and completing timely passes. Of his 31 passes, he completed 20 for 184 passing yards. Although he had no passing touchdowns, the Raiders were continually given excellent spots at the one-yard line, which only required a rush from Murray.
The team has encompassed this winning culture and believes that something special is in the making.
In an interview the Game with J.T. the Brick, Carr stated the importance of the primetime win and how the team should feel moving forward:
“It felt great, it puts us in a spot we’ve always wanted to be in. It was a big game for us, just because of standings-wise and those kind of things, so it did some good for us, but it means we’ve got a lot more to do. We’ve got to keep it now and that’s really all it is to us, but don’t get me wrong I was very excited after that game and that win, I was happy for our organization.”
The Raiders were sound with the ball, as the team did not allow a turnover the entire contest. Carr was protected extremely well by his offensive line, which only allowed two sacks the entire contest (Von Miller & Bradley Roby). The sacks were separated out, with Carr not fearing the pressure the Broncos were attempting to put on the quarterback.
The offensive line was also able to create continual holes amongst the line for the running backs. Aside from Murray and his explosive game, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington were also able to make big contributions.
During his interview, Carr credited the offensive line in a physical battle between to heavyweight teams:
“These NFL games are crazy physical as it is, the littlest pushes the littlest falls, [and] sometimes those hurt the most. What was going on upfront last night with that offensive line and how physical the game was back and forth on both sides, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was great to be a part of, it was great to be on the good side of it, but to see the physicality and aggression our o-line displayed last night, there’s not many people in this world that could sit in there and take a pounding like that.”
In total, the Raiders obtained 402 total yards of offense against the fourth ranked defense in the NFL (311.9 YPG).
The Raiders now enter a bye week with a chance to recuperate, heal and work on their negatives, in order to come back better for the second half of the NFL season.
In nine games played this season, Carr has thrown for 2505 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions, with his team 5-0 on the road and off to the best start in over a decade.